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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Spouse with Social Security Benefits

(Posted July 20, 2004)

Question 488: Can the spouse of a retired railroad worker draw a Social Security benefit based on her earnings in addition to, or instead of, Tier 1?

Answer: You can choose to receive your own Social Security benefit in addition to a Spouse Annuity from Railroad Retirement. To do so, you must file seperately with Social Security.

But the Tier 1 of your Spouse Annuity will be reduced by what you receive from Social Security. And your own Social Security benefit will be sent to Railroad Retirement and combined with your Spouse Annuity into one monthly benefit payment.

In terms of total benefits, you could receive more by filing for both benefits if your own Social Security is higher than your Tier 1 from Railroad Retirement.

In any event, you will always get a Tier 2 from Railroad Retirement because it is not affected by your own Social Security benefit.

Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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